While working at Gremlin Interactive in 1996, several staff left and started a new studio, Red Lemon Studios in Glasgow.
After leaving Gremlin in 1997 and bumping into CEO Andy Campbell in a Glasgow supermarket, I joined Red Lemon Studios in 1998.
Red Lemon were half way through developing their debut game, Braveheart.
Although it bore the name of the Hollywood movie and prominently featured Mel Gibson on the box, the game had no other connection to the franchise and internally went by the name “Tartan Army“.
AI, Physics and Gaelic
I joined the team to develop the AI of siege vehicles and foot soldiers, and the physics for catapults and arrows. While this was a challenge in its own right, the biggest problem I faced was understanding the source code itself. Being a staunch Scot, the lead developer had used old Gaelic terms such as Deasil and Widdershins to mean clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Laurent Noel had written the original renderer using the 3Dfx Glide API, so it was restricted to PCs with a 3Dfx graphics card installed.
Since I’d ported Laurent’s rendering code from Actua Soccer while at Gremlin, I wrote two new renderers for Braveheart. The 3D graphics card market was still in its infancy and very fragmented. Direct3D was new and not well supported, so I developed both a Direct3D and an OpenGL renderer, in addition to the existing 3Dfx one. There was also a software rasteriser, developed by a colleague.
I designed a common API for all four renderers that abstracted the low-level APIs (3Dfx / Direct3D / OpenGL / Software). On startup, it would detect and initialise the most appropriate renderer, then direct all the low-level commands to the appropriate API.
Scripting for Take the Bullet, etc
The team wanted a scripting language for managing cut scenes and other triggered events. I had some experience, so I implemented a bytecode interpreted language for controlling game entities.
Although Take the Bullet was never released, the scripting system was reused in several titles that were released after I left Red Lemon, including the PC game of the sci-fi TV series Farscape.